Like Water for Chocolate

by Laura Esquivel

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Could you give me examples of the parody and hyperbole techniques used in Laura Esquivel's "Como agua para chocolate", please? Thank you

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As a part novella, part cookbook, part fantasy, and part parodyComo Agua Para Chocolate reunites a plethora of instances of hyperbole (exaggeration) and accentuated parody. This is because Esquivel's writing style is an example of magical realism. The writing style of magical realists is meant to recreate imagery through exaggeration, imaginative events, and impossible situations. 

While the love (and dishes shared) between Tita and Pedro create most of the instances of hyperbole in the novel, sex induces the parody. 

A good example of the parody of sex can be found in the description of how it flows through Tita's dishes in order to reach Pedro, but it accidentally also gets through Gertrudis: 

Tita was the transmitter, Pedro the receiver, and poor Gertrudis the medium, the conducting body through which the singular sexual message was passed

This occurs shortly after Gertrudis eats Tita's quail in rose petal sauce. Gertrudis literally explodes within, making the walls of the outdoor bathroom burn down. So intense is Gertrudis's libido, that she takes off lustily eloping with soldier Juan Trevino, in such a way that it eludes to them making love while galloping away. 

Parody is also found in Gertrudis's swapping roles. Coming form a hard and heavy family where women are emotionally castrated, in comes Gertrudis, after her sexual liberation, challenging the role of women: she works part time in a brothel to liberate her libido even more and, after eloping with Juan, she returns as a General of the liberating Army. This is a clear message: give women the power to liberate their inner spark, and they can do the job of men and women alike.

Hyperbole is also rampant in the novel through love, and food. The dishes that Tita makes cause an effect on people that allow for creative license in the use of exaggeration and, actually, make it quite colorful. 

She was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn't notice that all around her something very strange was taking place. The moment they took their first bite of the cake, everyone was flooded with a great wave of longing. ... But the weeping was just the first symptom of a strange intoxication -- an acute attack of pain and frustration -- that seized the guests and scattered them across the patio and the grounds and in the bathrooms, all of them wailing over lost love.

Magical realism, as a genre, serves as the best vessel to communicate hyperbole in thought, emotion, and action, for it allows its natural flow without sounding ridiculous. 

She made her cuts through the rind with such mathematical precision that when she was done, she could pick up the watermelon and give it a single blow against a stone, in a particular spot, and like magic the watermelon rind would open like the petals of a flower, leaving the heart intact on the table. Unquestionably, when it came to dividing, dismantling, dismembering, desolating, detaching, dispossessing, destroying, or dominating, Mama Elena was a pro.

Even though it may look like the description of Mama Elena is exaggerated, it totally helps us understand the strength of emotion that Tita must have felt living with such a tyrannical parent. In all, hyperbole in the novel is actually the best way to describe some of the extreme situations. We can conclude that Como Agua Para Chocolate blends in parody and hyperbole perfectly in the topics that it treats of love, sex, and duty.











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